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New Habits

January 2020

Before you go charging after the hip, new tech thing, invest your time in brushing up on some PHP fundamentals. In this issue, we examine object-oriented programming patterns, using PHP arrays judiciously, unit testing, security in 2020, tending your mental health, and more.

Object-Oriented Programming: A Primer, Part Two

By Matthew Turland

The first article in this series, found in the November 2019 issue, focused on the “what” in object-oriented programming; that is, fundamental concepts and related features offered by PHP and what those features do. While this article does a bit more of the same, it focuses more on the “how” of object-oriented programming, particularly principles which guide how you use these features to build out your applications.

Never* Use Arrays

By Larry Garfield

Arrays are a core feature of the PHP language, and so easy to use many developers don’t go beyond them. Fixating on arrays as the uber-data structure, while tempting, can rapidly lead to unmaintainable, unreadable code. Let’s look at better options and just how accessible those options are.

Dealing With Devpression, Or: How I Learned to Dislike Myself Less, Part Two

By J.D. Flynn

If you read part one of this series, you’d have a pretty good idea of what my life was like before treatment and during my first few months on the road to wellness. I went from having an irrational fear of things other people without anxiety may laugh at (regardless of how insensitive that may be) to admitting I needed help and, more importantly, getting help. Things weren’t completely perfect, but they were definitely better.

Anatomy of a Browser

By Erin Zimmer

Browsers are everywhere, in a wide range of different devices. However, despite this, browsers mostly follow the same standards and operate in similar ways. Let’s take a look at what differentiates the various browsers, as well as what’s the same. Then, we’re going to go through the steps all browsers take to turn your markup into what users see.

Education Station: Unit Testing Basics

By Chris Tankersley

Recently, we’ve discussed principles for writing clean code in your php applications. Testing is a valuable technique to help you produce and maintain a codebase, but it can be daunting to learn. In this article, we’ll start with unit testing. Let’s look at how tests help during the design phase and in maintenance, what unit tests are, and how to use PHPUnit for your test suite.

The Workshop: Ansible In Practice

By Joe Ferguson

This month, we’re going to dive into a practical application of Ansible by building a playbook with roles to implement a fully functional Linux, MySQL, PHP, and NGINX web server. By the end, you should be able to take the playbook we build together and extend it to suit your requirements.

History and Computing: Mastering the Craft

By Edward Barnard

Truly mastering a skill means passing that skill onto others. What if the skill is so prohibitively difficult it’s not possible to pass on, not in your lifetime? Nathaniel Bowditch faced this problem 225 years ago. We’ll see the problem and how difficult it was. We’ll see how Bowditch created a way which each of us can emulate today.

Security Corner: Seven Deadly Sins of Security

By Eric Mann

While no list regarding security, risks, or best practices can ever be exhaustive, they often serve as decent starting points. Understanding some of the most common classes of security mistakes is a great way to begin a conversation about total application security. The following seven security risks are critical to any application development team; they’re easy mistakes to make but are equally easy to avoid if you keep your eyes open

Community Corner: ArizonaPHP

By Eric Van Johnson

If you’ve never been to the deserts of Arizona here in the U.S., you may think it’s a desolate and harsh land. Perhaps you envision Mad Max-style cars driving around looking for fuel and water. Maybe you think of the old Spaghetti Western, dusty small and disconnected towns, where strangers are not welcome. Nothing could be further from the truth

finally{}: Certainly Certifications

By Eli White

It’s been a long time since I talked about certifications. The last time I did it publicly was back in 2008 when I wrote a blog post about it. A piece that got a lot of strong responses, and almost cost me a job offer later in my career. I think over 10 years is long enough and it may be time to discuss this again.

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